Fijian warriorBalladeer’s Blog’s recent look at The Gods of Fiji has been a hit! For another deity from Fiji here is Rokotavo, whom I also went ahead and added to the main article. For more than 20 other gods from Fiji see my blog post HERE 

ROKOTAVO – This Fijian god of battle, though technically subordinate to the war deity Rokomoko, plays a much more active role in the myths.

Rokotavo is the general of Rokomoko’s troops, both godly and mortal. Waimoro and Mbau are the centers of worship for these two deities.  

At the command of Rokomoko, Rokotavo and his sons enter or “possess” young Fijian men and fill them with a zeal for battle. The men join the army and for a period of at least a year live separately from the rest of their village, usually in a communal dwelling like a barracks.

For that period they enter no homes, do not see their families and they communicate only with members of their own sex. This includes Rokomoko’s priests, who here take the place of your standard drill sergeant types, putting the men through their paces on a daily basis.

Their food is all roasted in the communal huts or out in the wilds. They may not eat food that is boiled or baked during that same year-long period.

Eventually, when the new troops are deemed ready to be sent out with the next war party the priests declare each man to be invulnerable to the weapons of their enemies. (This ritual continued all the way up through the early 1900s, long after bullets were added to the dangers of war in Fiji.)

Men who were subsequently injured in battle were deemed to have somehow earned Rokotavo’s displeasure. For the men who remained “invulnerable” it was believed that any wounds which they otherwise might have suffered were instead absorbed by a submerged river-log which was sacred to Rokotavo. (Sort of a “Log of Dorian Gray” concept.)

Soldiers would often dive for this log in the river near Rokomoko’s temple and pick out the markings which they felt the log had suffered from enemy weaponry on their behalf.

As for Rokomoko himself, he most often appears to his worshippers as a lizard. Cowry shells found nowhere else in Fiji except near his temple are considered sacred to the deity. Before a declaration of war the god’s priests would weed the vicinity of Rokomoko’s temple, and if pleased the god would visit their canoes in his lizard form to “bless” the upcoming martial endeavor.   



© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



Filed under Mythology

11 responses to “ROKOTAVO: A FIJIAN WAR-GOD

  1. Great article post. Will read on…

  2. Ollie

    Intersting barracks life they had.

  3. Tina

    Very cool god!

  4. Repke

    Very good article about a neglected culture.

  5. Ichor

    Rokotavo vs Ares in a pay per view event!

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